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Tortis pick

Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
Has any one ever tried one of these out?

I'm really interested in finding out how well they work.


  • ramsezazramsezaz Paris, FranceNew
    Posts: 90
    I bought one 2months ago...
    I was quite disapointed...
    At first I was happy with the plays well...
    but the sound is really awful...sounds like a plastic pick...
    I switched back to my eversliping wegen :) at least I got a descent sound with it.
    my lutherie blog : http://ramsezaz/
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622

    thanks for the post. I thought that might be the case. I have played with a real shel pick before and it was just great. But that was a $75 pick.
  • langleydjangolangleydjango Langley, WA USA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 99
    I use a Tortis "GypsyJazz". It is about 2mm thick but was the size of a boat paddle when I got it (I've been meaning to write to the manufacturer about this strange interpretation of what makes a pick "Gypsy Jazz").

    I took out my dremel tool and resized it to the size and shape of a wegen twin. Now I think it's great. But expensive.

    But the sound comes from your right hand not what is held in it. I just happen to like the feel of the tortis. It doesn't sound much different than any of the other picks I have.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I had to shape my Dugain picks as well so I know what you mean. The Dugain picks are not as big but still need work.

    Do you think the the Tortis is worth the money?
    How does it match up next to a Wegen?
  • PatrickPatrick Paris, FranceNew
    Posts: 29
    Yes, I agree with Ted. Playing a lot of bluegrass on medium gauge phosphore bronze strings (13-56), my experience is that the thicker the strings, the thinner the pick needs to be (otherwise you get too much pick noise mainly and the strings don't bend easily under the pick). On the other side, the thinner the strings, the more open the choice for pick thickness (and pretty thick picks work well). And then, since the strings give loose, the pick can be thick and still you won't get too much pick noise.
    Just my personal experience on this subject.

    Take care,

    Paris, France
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,896
    However, I should caution all of you guys to remember that back in the 1930's, heavy turtle shell (1-2MM max) was what everyone (from Eddie Lang to Django to George Van Eps) used in the 30's, 40's and 50's - not the sizes used today.

    Do you mean that the shell used back in the 30s was limited to 1-2mm or ALL shell is limited 1-2mm?

    Fapy made me a tortoise pick which pretty similar in shape and contour to a Wegen Gypsy jazz....about 3.5mm. But maybe thicker shell is more available now and it wasn't then?

  • ramsezazramsezaz Paris, FranceNew
    Posts: 90
    I'll give the Tortis a second i like the feel of it...
    But as you said, coming from a Wegen, it sounded like sh*t .
    Well, I guess it's this damn right hand again...
    Anyone knows where I can find another one ? even a used one ? (right hand that is, i did not throw that $30 pick away) :P
    my lutherie blog : http://ramsezaz/
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I couldn't find the thicker (gypsy) one on the site. But it is here if you want to order for $30

  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    So I picked up one of the Tortis "gypsy Jazzer" picks. It is about 2.5 or 3mm and triangle shaped. I was going in with low expectations based on what I have heard about them but just had to try one out for my self. At first my low expectation was met right on. There is zero compensation cut into it. In other words the thing is flat. I like the Wegen because they come cut in such a way that the pick slides over the strings correctly. This pick was flat except for a supper small chamfer along the edges. So I took matters into my own hands and went to town with a file and got all three side looking good. With some more filing I have turned this Tortis pick into one of my new favorites! It plays really nice and feels great in my hand. So if any of you are looking at these give them a shot and know that they will need some custom work done to make them play correctly.

  • pallopennapallopenna Rhode IslandNew
    Posts: 245
    I have played Tortis for both bluegrass and for GJ. Now, I'm no star, so this should come with a grain of salt, but I've really liked each of the picks I've used (I own 5 different ones). However, I've had to work on each one of them to get the bevel, edge, and gloss I want. It's worth the effort (as Josh attests). Also, I think Dave Skowrin (spelling might be wrong) is a really good guy, and I believe that he will still make a pick to your specs if he's got the material.

    Reject the null hypothesis.
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